Again?!

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. This week’s word prompt is “again.” We would love to have you join us.

Life is full of ups and downs. But it’s also full of life and death. From October 2017 to December 2018, nine deaths. Nine deaths of friends and family. Every time I heard the news I found myself saying, “Not again.”

Grief has a way of coming in so many different ways. It is like a roller coaster ride of emotions. Grief reminds us that we were loved and loved those we lost. I’m so thankful for the gift these individuals were to my life. I miss them everyday.

I don’t want another eighteen months like I’ve had. Too many deaths. Too many lost way too soon. Again I say, “Thank you. Thank you for giving them to me to know and to love.”

The grief is less heavy. But little things remind me of my friends and family. Like Canticle of the Turning reminds me of my friend Ben.

Five Trips

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. This week’s word prompt is “five.” We would love to have you join us.

Nashville Tennessee, Rapid City SD/Black Hills, Chicago, NYC and Dallas Texas!

Five sisters trips in the books!

This week we toured Dealy Plaza and the 6th floor museum. We went to the top of Reunion Tower. We toured AT and T Stadium where we did a VIP tour. I think my sister was in heaven. She’s been a Cowboys fan since Aikman and Emmitt. We went to the Dallas Aquarium. And saw so many fun animals. The otter tried to steal my phone!

That evening, my friend John from the Lutheran Academy of the Rockies took us to a Rangers game. We ate before the game at Texas Live and ate at Troy Aikmans bar. The Rangers beat the Seattle Mariners 9-7.

*Thursday we slept in and then met up with some friends of mine. They took us out to dinner. We were going to go to Southfork where they filmed Dallas but it got too late. Instead we found the street where the Bushes live. It is heavily gated and you can’t even turn down the street. After that adventure, my friends dropped off us off at Klyde Warren park which is Dallas version of NYC’s Highline park.

Friday we ventured to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. I was really impressed as it’s very interactive and educational. We ate lunch at the museum cafe. Afterwards we went to the Dallas Zoo but only lasted about an hour and a half as it was way too hot. Then we hung out at our hotel pool. They had these really cool loungers that sat in the water. We spent a lot of time on those loungers during the week. I even finished a book.

These trips are always so much fun but go way too fast! Now we are waiting for our flight home, I’m ready to see Luna and Neville as I’ve missed them! But where will sisters trip #6 be?

*Where my five minutes ended. But I couldn’t leave you hanging. Had to finish telling you about this years trip!

The Middle

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. This week’s word prompt is “middle.” We would love to have you join us.

The minute I heard the word prompt, I started singing an old Diamond Rio song. “Let’s meet in the middle against that old Georgia pine.” This song takes me back to my high school days belting out this song with my friends. The sounds and smells of the prairie permeating the air.

There are so many great things where the middle is the best. The cream in the middle of the Oreo. The ice cream in the middle of an ice cream sandwich. The fortune in the middle of a fortune cookie (Sometimes not always). The peanut butter and jelly in the middle of the PB and J sandwich. The middle can be a good place to be.

The other day I found myself in the middle of my two beloved kitties Luna and Neville. I love them so much!

Willing

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. This week’s word prompt is “willing.” We would love to have you join us.

“My spirit is willing, but my flesh is so weak.” I’ve been singing this camp song Light the Fire since I read the word prompt for this week. Isn’t it funny how certain words put ear worms in our ears?

But the word willing is so much more than an ear worm.

Are you willing to try something new… a new food, a new hobby, etc?

Are you willing to speak up for those who are different than you?

Are you willing to stand your ground for what you believe is right?

Are you willing and able to help someone else? In other words, are you willing to be a modern day Good Samaritan in this world?

Are you willing to live out your passions?

What are you willing to try? What are you willing to say? I’d love to hear!

Photo Taking

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. This week’s word prompt is “take.” We would love to have you join us.

A few years ago my friend gifted me with a camera. I forgot how much I loved every taking photos. There is something about taking photos and trying to capture a moment in time.

Camera in hand, my friend and I walk around Lily Lake. I see so much of God’s creation. I capture a duck butt as he dives into the lake. We spot a moose off in the distance. I see several ducks sunbathing. The mountains are covered in the splendor of snow. Wild flowers of various shapes and colors are all around. It’s the glory of Colorado.

Hues of reds, oranges and yellows cascade across the sky as the sun sets. The amber waves of grain glisten against the sun. The bright yellow of sunflowers can be seen for miles. It’s the beauty of North Dakota at her best.

What do you like to capture? (And for those who saw my FB post, my photos were sent off to be entered in the ND State Fair!) o

In God’s Hands

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. This week’s word prompt is “world.” We would love to have you join us.

I just got back from one of my favorite continuing education trips. I love it because when I attended it for the first time, I got to explore a new part of the country I have never been too….Colorado! It has become one of my favorite places in the world. There is something so holy about being in the mountains.

Growing up we didn’t do much traveling. We visited grandparents in Nebraska and visited South Dakota. But I don’t remember many other places we vacationed too. As I have gotten older, I have found myself traveling more and more often.

A few years ago, my sister began the tradition of having a sister’s trip. We have been to Nashville, Chicago, The Black Hills of South Dakota and New York City. This year we will be traveling to Dallas TX. I love exploring and spending this time with my sister as we explore new parts of the USA.

There are so many parts of the world I would love to travel too. On my bucket list, I would love to travel to Germany and visit the Lutheran sites of Martin Luther. I would love to experience Jerusalem and walk where Jesus walked. I also would love to travel to Ireland! Where are some places you hope to visit?

The world is full of so much beauty. God’s magnificent hand is all over it. I only need look at the glorious pictures from Colorado that I took while I was there. God’s creation amazing us as we spotted a moose, an elk and even some baby chicks in Lily Lake. I can’t help but sing “God’s got the whole world in God’s hands.”

Goals

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. This week’s word prompt is “goal.” We would love to have you join us.

A mom, a teacher, a writer, a youth director….These are all things I wanted to be when I was younger. As little children, we all strive for goals that we want to fulfill when we are older.

These goals often change and shift. But there’s always one constant. God is with us. God knows who and whose we are. God loves us for we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

There are times I wish God would give us traffic signs so we knew where we were headed. I cant help but think of football and how the players have goals especially the kickers.

A straight shot through the uprights. GOAL!! I truly believe God gives us each unique skills and abilities. Skills that we are to use.

So today, I claim that I am a writer, a daughter, a sister, a friend and so much more? Who are you? What goals do you have?

Well with my Soul

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. This week’s word prompt is “well.” We would love to have you join us. Sorry I am so late this week. It was a busy weekend!

“When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul”

“Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.”

The words to this hymn began playing in my head and my heart when I heard the word prompt for this week. Today I am feeling at peace. Today things seem to be well with my soul. But life isnt always like that. There are times when it is not well with my soul.

Over the last 18 months, losing 9 friends/family members, it was not well with my soul. When I think I am not good enough, it is not well with my soul. When the world around us is filled with such evil and such hatred, it is not well with my soul. When I cry out, “How long, Oh Lord, will you forget me forever?, it is not well with my soul.

It is when things are not well with my soul when I must turn to God. I must ask to bring about healing and peace. As I have grieved and worked through my losses, there is healing and hope again. It is once again well with my soul. When I believe and truly know that God hears every desire of my heart, I know that is again well with my soul.

Standing at the shore of a lake, there is a peace that comes over me. It is a peace that reminds me that I am not a lone. It is a peace that calls me to know that my soul is at rest. It is well. It is well, well with my soul.

Child of God

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. This week’s word prompt is “name.” We would love to have you join us. Sorry I am so late this week, it’s been a good busy but holy week!

“Tara Lee Ulrich, you are a baptized child of God; whatever else you are, remember that you are that; for that is the basis of whatever else you are.” These words were imparted to me by my seminary advisor Nate. He gave woven pieces of this quote to all of his advisees. It is such a gift; a reminder that everything is grounded in our Baptism. God calls us all by name and knows every hair upon our head; every desire of our hearts.

This week has been a holy week. I have been reminded again and again of who I am as a beloved child of God. I possess strength. “For she is clothed with dignity and strength and lacks fear of the future.”–Proverbs 31:25. I am enough. I am beautiful. I am loved; so incredibly incredibly loved. I am gracious.

I walk forward with my eyes open knowing that more people need to see fully who God created me to be. I have gracious green eyes that need to be shown more. I need to live out my Enneagram 2ness as that is a huge piece of who I am as God’s child. I am Gods and God is mine!

Our name is a gift that is bestowed on all of us. My parents named me Tara which means “rocky pinnacle”. But another name that is just is important is our name “child of God.” God loves us despite our sinfulness. God continually calls each and every one of us by name! Thanks be to God for that gift and blesssing!

Culture

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. Today’s word prompt is “culture.” We would love to have you join us.

Culture=”the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious or social group;” “the set of shared attitudes, values goals and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Kuchen, knoephla soup, dumplings….These are just some of my favorite foods growing up. Store bought kuchen is just not the same as Grandmas homemade kuchen. Knoephla soup warms my belly and is one of my favorite comfort foods when I’m sad.

These food items are a representation of the culture my grandparents (my dads parents) came from. They are German Russians. Germans who came over from Russia. I love learning about our culture….where we come from.

Last summer in NYC, we toured Ellis Island. I remember wondering what it must have been like to come over from Germany. Grandpa would have been a young boy.

My sister can be stubborn….a very German Russian trait. What traits do you carry from your families culture? Our cultures tell a lot about where we come from.